A true detective story from the age of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers: the literary crime that fooled the world – and the daring young booksellers who uncovered it.
London, 1932. Thomas James Wise is the toast of the literary establishment. A prominent collector and businessman, he is renowned on both sides of the Atlantic for unearthing the most stunning first editions and bringing them to market. Pompous and fearsome, with friends in high places, he is one of the most powerful men in the field of rare books.
One night, two young booksellers – one a dishevelled former communist, the other a martini-swilling fan of detective stories – stumble upon a strange discrepancy. It will lead them to suspect Wise and his books are not all they seem. Inspired by the vogue for Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes, the pair harness the latest developments in forensic analysis to crack the case, but find its extent is greater than they ever could have imagined. By the time they are done, their investigation will have rocked the book world to its core.
This is the true story of unlikely friends coming together to expose the literary crime of the century, and of a maverick bibliophile who forged not only books but an entire life, erasing his past along the way.
“This is an absolutely fascinating literary detective story. Real-life audacious crimes uncovered by the most intrepid amateur detectives, investigated all over again a hundred years later here, in delicious forensic detail, by Joseph Hone. A must-read for anyone enthralled by the value and integrity of books. A page turner about page turners.” – Janice Hallett, author of The Alperton Angels
“I loved this elegant untangling of a real-life literary mystery. With a cast stretching from Robert Browning to Dorothy L Sayers, it’s the perfect piece of armchair detection for any book lover.” – Ruth Ware, author of The Woman in Cabin 10
“A thrilling unravelling of bookish fraud that reads like a detective story from the golden age.” – Roland Philipps, author of A Spy Named Orphan
“Criminally sophisticated skulduggery . . . A thoroughly enjoyable romp through an infamous moment in book history.” – Oliver Darkshire, author of Once Upon a Tome
“Spies, detectives, forgers, and The Case of the Kernless ‘f’. Another superb piece of narrative scholarship from the best storyteller in book history.” – Dennis Duncan, author of Index, A History of the
“Intriguing, well-written, and impressively researched, The Book Forger tells a great story that is truly stranger than fiction.” – Martin Edwards, President of the Detection Club
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Length: 378 Pages
The comprehensive handbook to the writings and world of Jonathan Swift.
Jonathan Swift remains the most important and influential satirist in the English language. The author of Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, and A Tale of a Tub, in addition to vast numbers of political pamphlets, satirical verses, sermons, and other kinds of text, Swift is one of the most versatile writers in the literary canon. His writings were always closely intertwined with the English and Irish worlds in which he lived. The forty-four essays collected in Jonathan Swift in Context advance the latest research on Swift in a way that will engage undergraduate students while also remaining useful for scholars. Reflecting the best of current and ongoing scholarship, the contextual approach advanced by this volume will help to make Swift’s works even more powerful and resonant to modern audiences.
A radical new study of the most important poet of the eighteenth century.
How did Alexander Pope become the greatest poet of the eighteenth century? Modern scholarship has typically taken Pope’s rise to greatness and subsequent remoteness from lesser authors for granted. As a major poet he is treated as the successor of Milton and Dryden or the precursor of Wordsworth. Drawing on previously neglected texts and overlooked archival materials, Alexander Pope in the Making immerses the poet in his milieux, providing a substantial new account of Pope’s early career, from the earliest traces of manuscript circulation to the publication of his collected Works and beyond.
In this book, Joseph Hone illuminates classic poems such as An Essay on Criticism, The Rape of the Lock, and Windsor-Forest by setting them alongside lesser-known texts by Pope and contempories, many of which have never received sustained critical attention before. Pope’s earliest experiments in satire, panegyric, lyric, pastoral, and epic are all explored alongside his translations, publication strategies, and neglected editorial projects. By recovering values shared by Pope and the politically heterodox men and women whose works he read and with whom he collaborated, this book constructs powerful new interpretive frameworks for some of the eighteenth century’s most celebrated poems.
Alexander Pope in the Making mounts a comprehensive challenge to the ‘Scriblerian’ paradigm that has dominated scholarship for the past eighty years. It sheds fresh light on Pope’s early career and reshapes our understanding of the ideological landscape of his era. This book will be essential reading for scholars and students of eighteenth-century literature, history, and politics for years to come.
“This elegant and adroit investigation of the literary and political coteries in which the young Alexander Pope came to maturity offers a radically different version of the poet’s early life.” – Peter Davidson, Literary Review
“Joseph Hone’s meticulous, powerfully argued new monograph Alexander Pope in the Making, puts a different spin on how Pope used print publication strategically to build his youthful identity” – Sophie Gee, Times Literary Supplement
“As Joseph Hone shows in Alexander Pope in the Making, Pope began his writing life as a predominately manuscript poet writing for tight knit recusant networks in the Thames Valley … As Hone suggests, that readership was a crucial component in Pope’s art, however he tried to hide it. His early experience writing for a group of recusants enabled him to develop his later style of nudges, winks and insinuations” – Colin Burrow, London Review of Books
“Another excellent new study, Joseph Hone’s Alexander Pope in the Making [directs] us toward the strategic manner in which Pope constructed himself as a “classic author” during his lifetime, seeking to fix his reputation before others could fix it for him.” – Clare Bucknell, New York Review of Books
“this is a book which quite simply cannot be ignored … stylish and genuinely ground-breaking” – Dylan Carver, The Year’s Work in English Studies
“Alexander Pope in the Making brings profound erudition and meticulous archival work to bear on Pope’s career … cause for celebration” – Claude Willan, Eighteenth-Century Studies
“a very good work of scholarship that sets out to paint a highly political version of the young Pope’s formation as a covert or cultural Jacobite in the time of Queen Anne . . . He gets there by performing a deep dive into the archives and it is fascinating” – Robert Phiddian, Australian Book Review
“Alexander Pope in the Making offers not merely a new interpretation of the poetry but also a way of reading that considers the context from which the poetry emerged. This new light on a poet who is often deemed difficult creates a modern appreciation for both Pope and his contemporaries. Hone’s work is a valuable contribution to the study of 18th-century literature.” – M. H. Kealy, Choice
Imprint: Chatto & Windus
Length: 251 Pages
An adventure story of politics, philosophy and printing from the age of Queen Anne.
In the summer of 1705, a masked woman knocked on the door of David Edwards’s London workshop. She did not leave her name, only a package and a coded means of identifying her courier.
Edwards was a Welsh printer working in the dark confines of Nevill’s Alley, outside the city walls. The package was an illegal, anonymous pamphlet: The Memorial of the Church of England. The argument it proposed threatened to topple the government, but sedition sold well in the coffeehouses of Fleet Street and the woman promised protection. Edwards swiftly set about printing and surreptitiously distributing the pamphlet.
Parliament was soon in turmoil and government minister Robert Harley launched a hunt for all those involved. When Edwards was nowhere to be found, his wife was imprisoned and the pamphlet was burnt in his place. The printer was not the only villain, though, and Harley had to find the unknown writers who wished to bring the government down.
Full of original research, The Paper Chase tears through the backstreets of London and its corridors of power as Edwards’s allegiances waver and Harley’s grasp on parliament threatens to slip. Amateur detectives and government spies race to unmask the secrets of the age in this complex break-neck political adventure. Joseph Hone shows us a nation in crisis through the fascinating story of a single incendiary document.
**Longlisted for the HWA Non-Fiction Crown**
“An elegant blend of scholarship and detection that reanimates the dangerous, exciting, clandestine world of Fleet Street at the start of the modern age” – Peter Moore, author of Endeavour
“a brilliantly original, immersive and thrilling tale told by a fine scholar and storyteller” – Jessie Childs, author of God’s Traitors
“A remarkable achievement . . . an eye for detail and sense of narrative drive worthy of a fiction writer […] The evocations of London’s thoroughfares, printing houses and taverns are the result of exhaustive research, but they also have the gripping immediacy and plausible detail of an Iain Pears historical novel” – Marcus Nevitt, The Spectator
“enthralling microhistory . . . provides, in Hone’s skilled hands, the clearest view to date of the murky world of underground printing in late Stuart London” – Tom Keymer, London Review of Books
“an exciting story told with vigour . . . manages to combine a lively, almost novelistic narrative style with a confident and scholarly knowledge of his subject. That’s no mean feat.” – Adrian Tinniswood, Literary Review
“Hone’s book, based on close examination of sources, is a detailed and authoritative guide to the politics of England in Queen Anne’s reign as well as something of a thriller” – Sir Malcolm Jack, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
The first detailed study of the final Stuart succession crisis.
Literature and Party Politics at the Accession of Queen Anne demonstrates for the first time the centrality of debates about royal succession to the literature and political culture of the early eighteenth century. Using previously neglected, misunderstood, and newly discovered material, Joseph Hone shows that arguments about Anne’s right to the throne were crucial to the construction of nascent party political identities. Literary texts were the principal vehicle through which contemporaries debated the new queen’s legitimacy. This book sheds fresh light on canonical authors such as Daniel Defoe, Alexander Pope, and Joseph Addison by setting their writing alongside the work of lesser known but nonetheless important figures such as John Tutchin, William Pittis, Nahum Tate, John Dennis, Henry Sacheverell, Charles Leslie, and other anonymous and pseudonymous authors. Through close historical analysis, it shows how this new generation of poets, preachers, and pamphleteers transformed older models of succession writing by Milton, Dryden, and others, and imbued conventional genres such as panegyric and satire with their own distinctive poetics. By immersing the major authors in their milieu, and reconstructing the political and material contexts in which those authors wrote, Literature and Party Politics demonstrates the vitality of debates about royal succession in early eighteenth-century culture.
**Shortlisted for the University English Book Prize**
“an impressive debut by a promising young scholar, whose dogged research has uncovered primary documents never before discussed in modern scholarship, and whose engagement with the existing scholarship is serious and thorough . . . fresh, original, and persuasive” – James A. Winn, Modern Philology
“Hone’s attention to the political and cultural contexts of the year of Queen Anne’s accession pays dividends” – J. A. Downie, The Review of English Studies
“a subtly revisionist account of literary politics . . . grounded insistently and illuminatingly, in the political and cultural contexts of the period” – Philip Connell, The Seventeenth Century
“scrupulously accurate, clearly argued, solidly supported and admirably even-handed” – Juan Christian Pellicer, Journal for Eightenth-Century Studies
“well-researched, cogently organized, and lucidly written . . . essential reading” – Melissa Shoenberger, Eighteenth-Century Studies
“an impressive book, learned and thoughtful, and almost always careful in its claims” – Ashley Marshall, Eightenth-Century Life
“has wider methodological implications for the field of literary studies more generally, as a renewed testimony to the value of meticulous historicist scholarship . . . Hone’s first monograph establishes him, already, as one of the best critical voices in eighteenth-century scholarship” – Robert Scott, The Year’s Work in English Studies
“Succinct, shrewd . . . an exemplary case study of a moment of dynastic instability in denial.” – Jayne Lewis, SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900
“Hone has a keen eye for both detail and constitutional macro-narratives . . . an impressive monograph” – Ophelia Field, The Times Literary Supplement
“a densely argued and meticulously researched study which is in the best sense of the word ‘revisionist'” – Jeffrey Hopes, XVII-XVIII
“packs intellectual punch and erudite insights . . . a valuable study that deserves to be read widely by historians of all fields” – Jurriaan M. van Santvoort, Journal of British Studies
“Excellently researched and finely written . . . makes a thoroughly convincing and informative case that the political moment of Queen Anne was anything but straightforward or inconsequential” – Kirk Combe, Notes and Queries
“critical scholarship of the highest order . . . a superior book making a challenging argument” – Thomas Lockwood, The Scriblerian and Kit-Cats
“compelling . . . tells us much about attitudes to party politics and monarchical culture at the start of the eighteenth century” – Stewart Tolley, The English Historical Review